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Trading spaces: Calculating embodied Ecological Footprints in international trade using a Product Land Use Matrix (PLUM)

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  • Moran, Daniel D.
  • Wackernagel, Mathis C.
  • Kitzes, Justin A.
  • Heumann, Benjamin W.
  • Phan, Doantam
  • Goldfinger, Steven H.

Abstract

Nations import and export biophysical resources. With many ecosystems worldwide under mounting stress, countries may be increasingly interested in knowing the extent and origin of their ecological imports and dependencies. In this paper the Ecological Footprint is used as a tool to measure the biophysical (as opposed to financial) value of international trade flows. This paper attempts to answer the following question: How large of an Ecological Footprint does a given country exert inside the borders of each of its trading partners? Records in the UN COMTRADE bilateral trade database are multiplied by a matrix of per-product Footprint yield coefficients to translate from values in dollars and tonnes to units of hectares. The results show that the largest interregional flows are from Latin to North America, and from North America to Asia-Pacific. Grouping countries by GDP, high and middle income countries appear in Footprint terms to trade predominantly with other high and middle income countries and much less with low income countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Moran, Daniel D. & Wackernagel, Mathis C. & Kitzes, Justin A. & Heumann, Benjamin W. & Phan, Doantam & Goldfinger, Steven H., 2009. "Trading spaces: Calculating embodied Ecological Footprints in international trade using a Product Land Use Matrix (PLUM)," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 1938-1951, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:68:y:2009:i:7:p:1938-1951
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Nan Li & Tianzhu Zhang & Jianchuan Qi & Yuanyi Huang, 2015. "Using Multiple Tools to Analyze Resource Exchange in China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(9), pages 1-14, September.
    2. Mei Liao & Chao Ma & Dongpu Yao & Huizheng Liu, 2013. "Decomposition of embodied exergy flows in manufactured products and implications for carbon tariff policies," Asia Europe Journal, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 265-283, September.
    3. Sato, Misato, 2014. "Product level embodied carbon flows in bilateral trade," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 106-117.
    4. Yue, Dongxia & Xu, Xiaofeng & Hui, Cang & Xiong, Youcai & Han, Xuemei & Ma, Jinhui, 2011. "Biocapacity supply and demand in Northwestern China: A spatial appraisal of sustainability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(5), pages 988-994, March.
    5. Minihan, Erin S. & Wu, Ziping, 2012. "Economic structure and strategies for greenhouse gas mitigation," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 350-357.
    6. Kastner, Thomas & Kastner, Michael & Nonhebel, Sanderine, 2011. "Tracing distant environmental impacts of agricultural products from a consumer perspective," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(6), pages 1032-1040, April.
    7. Singh, Simron Jit & Krausmann, Fridolin & Gingrich, Simone & Haberl, Helmut & Erb, Karl-Heinz & Lanz, Peter & Martinez-Alier, Joan & Temper, Leah, 2012. "India's biophysical economy, 1961–2008. Sustainability in a national and global context," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 60-69.
    8. Oulu, Martin, 2015. "The unequal exchange of Dutch cheese and Kenyan roses: Introducing and testing an LCA-based methodology for estimating ecologically unequal exchange," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 372-383.
    9. Moran, Daniel D. & Lenzen, Manfred & Kanemoto, Keiichiro & Geschke, Arne, 2013. "Does ecologically unequal exchange occur?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 177-186.
    10. Kissinger, Meidad & Rees, William E., 2009. "Footprints on the prairies: Degradation and sustainability of Canadian agricultural land in a globalizing world," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(8-9), pages 2309-2315, June.
    11. Deckers, Jan, 2010. "Should the consumption of farmed animal products be restricted, and if so, by how much?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 497-503, December.
    12. Chen, G. & Chen, B. & Zhou, H. & Dai, P., 2013. "Life cycle carbon emission flow analysis for electricity supply system: A case study of China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 1276-1284.
    13. Minihan, Erin S. & Wu, Ziping, 2011. "The Potential Economic and Environmental Costs of GHG Mitigation Measures for Cattle Sectors in Northern Ireland," 85th Annual Conference, April 18-20, 2011, Warwick University, Coventry, UK 108779, Agricultural Economics Society.
    14. Kissinger, Meidad & Gottlieb, Dan, 2010. "Place oriented ecological footprint analysis -- The case of Israel's grain supply," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(8), pages 1639-1645, June.

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